A friend shared this article with me yesterday, and I have to admit, it upset me. A lot. So please, take a few minutes to read it, and then come back. http://flavorwire.com/555722/what-do-nancy-drew-and-anne-of-green-gables-have-to-offer-the-age-of-peak-tv/
I am not a feminist. Not by a long shot. In fact, in many ways I’m about as anti-feminist as a female can get. Now, “feminism” can have different meanings to different people, granted. But today, that word has become synonymous with a certain image and set of ideals that, quite frankly, I detest.
I have no desire to live in a world where all men are considered chauvinist pigs, and women who don’t want to act as men do are considered “old fashioned”, “out of touch”, and “repressed”.
I don’t believe that a woman who wants a husband and children is any less of a “real woman” than one who chooses to go to medical school and is happy being married to her career. Now, I do believe that there are certain jobs that women are NOT best suited for and shouldn’t do, the same as I believe that there are certain jobs that MEN are not best suited for and shouldn’t do.
I also believe that it’s wrong to hire a person just to fill some sort of stupid PC quota. If it’s not right to hire a woman just because she’s nice to look at, then it should also be unacceptable to hire a woman simply because society says that if you don’t hire ‘x’ number of women, then you’re somehow discriminating against them. Hiring a woman or man based on what society feels promotes “equality” rather than competency, qualifications and ability, is not equality, and it benefits no one. Saying “You’re hired because you’re a woman and we need more women in the work force” is no different than hiring the prettiest girl at an interview because she’s easy on the eyes.
This brings me to the aforementioned article. “What Do Nancy Drew and ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Have to Offer the Age of Peak TV?” Nothing good, if the information in this article is correct.
I am indeed a woman who was brought up on the fabulous mysteries and adventures of Nancy Drew. I’m also very familiar with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s timeless character, Anne of Green Gables. If you grew up in Canada in the late ’80s, early ’90s, then the Megan Follows “Anne of Green Gables” series is probably something you’ve seen more times than you care to count!
I admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of Anne, who often times came across as a girl who sorely needed to be disciplined. But both Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables were heroines in their own right. They were young, independent women who faced hardship head-on, never backing down because of danger or adversity, and above all else, staying true to themselves and never sacrificing or compromising their beliefs.
Over the last century (Nancy Drew was first published in 1930, but Montgomery wrote “Anne of Green Gables” in 1908), no matter how those series were modified for newer generations, the character of the characters remained intact. And that’s important.
From the article: “Two iconic characters with sunny auras and relatively straightforward histories are about to be re-imagined in the context of today’s dark, morally ambiguous antiheroes (and, increasingly, antiheroines)…” To this I say a simple but stern ‘WHY?’
“Yet although Nancy and Anne are enduring staples of the YA “Girl Canon,” they each have different dark dimensions that can be mined for quality 21st-century storytelling.” My God, there’s just so much wrong with that, I don’t even know where to start.
Let’s begin with this: Why are well-established, beloved characters — the creations of author Lucy Maude Montgomery and Edward Stratemeyer — being “re-imagined” at all? Least of all in a way that will highly compromise the very specific and deliberate characteristics of said characters?
If you want to re-imagine a character like Nancy Drew, then write a NEW series. When you’re planning to completely rewrite a character, then cashing in on the name in order to draw your audience is insulting — both to the fans who come to watch, and to the character herself.
Today, it’s becoming more and more acceptable to simply change what no longer suits us, and I’m sorry, but that’s wrong. Fulton Sheen once said, “Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.” And that can be applied far beyond the realm of moral principles. Just because someone up and decides that something is “racist” doesn’t make it so.
And speaking of racism, I take GREAT exception when the author of the article in question said: “…the essential qualities that Nancy embodies are fairly generic, tied to no background or ethnicity. Although her image as a blonde girl climbing out of windows, spying and deducing things, might be shaken up by the casting (and will surely draw the ire of racist fans)…”
NO. I’m sorry, but the fact that I don’t think Nancy Drew should ever be depicted as anything but a white, titian-haired woman does NOT MAKE ME A RACIST. Honestly, I get so tired of this narrow-minded, easily offended mindset. I don’t want to see a black Nancy Drew because Nancy Drew is white. Period. Nothing racist about it. A character in a story shouldn’t be treated any differently than a real live person from history. You don’t go changing a person’s race or gender to make it suit YOUR idea of what’s “acceptable” or “unacceptable”.
You don’t agree? Okay, then how about this re-imagining: A new series! Innovative, fresh, bold, “now”! The story of Martin Luther King Jr., a man who stood up in the face of oppression and demanded equality for his fellow human beings. Who faced ridicule, threats and certain death, but refused to give up on his dream — that ALL men might live in peace and be free. Annnd we’re casting a white actor for the part. O_O
Yeah. The thought of a white Martin Luther King Jr. is a BIT harder to swallow than a black Nancy Drew, isn’t it? Yet if you stop and think about it, it’s exactly the same thing.
People are arguing that the “idea” of Nancy Drew goes beyond race, gender and other cultural confines. “Casting Nancy Drew as [a] woman of color is particularly brilliant, since her mass-market creation means she’s not particularly tethered to any specific heritage or background.” So tell me, what would be so wrong with a white Martin Luther King Jr.? Isn’t the idea of a person who wants to take a stand against inequality a universal one? Not tethered to any race, gender or heritage?
Yet, it WOULD be wrong because Martin Luther King Jr. was a black man. He was a person. And changing anything about him would greatly demean his character and his memory. If somebody wanted to write a story about a white man who fought for peace and equality, FINE! There’s not a thing wrong with that. But do NOT call him Martin Luther King Jr., because that’s not who MLKJ was.
Literary characters such as Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables are the same. They don’t have to be “real” people who lived and breathed. They are the creation of their respective authors, authors who made them what they are for a reason, and we should respect that, not try to change it.
In fact, Nancy Drew herself is an example of creating something brand new rather than changing what already exists. Edward Stratemeyer created the female character of Drew AFTER her MALE counterparts, the Hardy Boys, were a big hit.
I want Nancy to be a Caucasian, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl because that is what Nancy Drew looks like. Period. That’s NOT racist or sexist or anything other than purely logical. I can’t change that anymore than I can change the fact that I was born a hazel-eyed brunette. And why would I even WANT to change that? If you don’t like “Wendy”, then don’t bother re-imagining her — go find yourself another girl, one who suits what you ARE looking for. But don’t think it’s appropriate to change ME into what you’re looking for. THAT is demeaning and just plain unnecessary.
So if our morally declining society is craving a more modern heroine who is a “morally ambiguous antihero”, exploring the dark and dirty, boundary-pushing 21st-century? Go watch “Jessica Jones”. This series ALREADY EXISTS. Jessica is a private eye, a sleuth, who tries to right wrongs in her own messed up, highly flawed way. The minute I finished reading the article in question, I immediately thought, “They’ve just described Jessica Jones”.
And Jessica Jones is NO Nancy Drew. In the midst of this barrage of political correctness, equality and ambiguity, let’s not forget what makes Nancy Drew, NANCY DREW.
The appeal of our darling strawberry blonde sleuth wasn’t simply what she did, but more importantly why and how she did it. Nancy Drew, girl detective, was first and foremost a proper lady. She was polite, considerate, kind and helpful. Devoted to her family and friends, she was always dependable, punctual, and reliable. She had a set of standards, a moral code that she lived by. And no matter how tough or dangerous the situation? She never, ever gave in to the temptation to compromise those standards to get what she wanted.
THAT is who Nancy Drew is. Strong and brave and the kind of woman you want yourself and your daughters to be. Nancy didn’t have to get naked and jump into bed with a suspect in order to get information. She used her wit, tact, and clever cunning to sniff out clues.
The inherent, everlasting beauty of heroines like Nancy Drew comes from the fact that she’s a constant. She doesn’t “change”. She represents not a time in history so much as an ideal of character. And a darn good one at that. Being a “lady” never goes out of fashion, no matter how the world changes.
It would honestly break my heart (as well as make me flaming mad) to see Nancy Drew wrapped in a sheet the morning after she “interrogated” a potential suspect, her lipstick smeared across her cheek, a bottle of bourbon on the night stand, writing in her diary about how she was getting THISCLOSE to solving the mystery. Nancy Drew doesn’t DO that. If other women want to? Go right ahead. I don’t judge people on anything except whether or not they believe Jesus is Lord, TRUTH and LOVE in flesh. How you choose to live this life is your business. But please, stop trying to eradicate every trace of normalcy, decency, and innocence from women who have spent the better part of a century maintaining their standards of strength and femininity.
Our heroines don’t need updating. They don’t need modernizing. We don’t want to see them embracing the dark, questionable, “morally ambiguous” (sheesh, I HATE that phrase) 21st-century culture. I’m so tired of tuning in for a new show and being assaulted by gratuitous sex scenes and over the top violence, both of which lend NOTHING to the developing story 99.9% of the time.
This is not innovative writing. It’s not compelling television. It’s offensive, barbaric, and it insults our intelligence. Far from being ground-breaking and progressive, it’s REgressive, hearkening back to a time when humans killed other humans for sport and entertainment. “…appeal to today’s sophisticated audiences”? Surely you jest. If lazy, lack-luster writing, flat dialogue, and one-dimensional characters whose only skill in life is contracting sexually transmitted diseases is what passes for “sophisticated” today? Then I don’t mind one bit if I’m perceived as being old-fashioned, dated, boring and repressed.
The success of a female heroine is not measured by how avant-garde she is, or how many notches are carved into her bedpost. No, REAL heroines are the women who stand up for what’s right, even in the face of adversity. The women who don’t give in to societal pressures, fads, and the politically correct ‘soup de jour’. And that takes courage, patience, perseverance and persistence. These modern makeovers of classic heroines demeans and undermines the women many of us have come to look up to. And stripping a woman of the dignity that she’s worked hard to earn is the most demeaning thing you can do.
Far from delivering women from some perceived ‘oppression’, these “edgy” modernizations take away the very things that make us special. And they shift the focus from what’s good to what’s bad; from the positive to the negative; painting a world where you’re only considered “normal” if you’re an extreme f*** up. Instead of celebrating our talents, they focus on our flaws, emphasizing our demons.
Real heroines don’t do that to people. So why would anyone think it appropriate to do that to them?